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Chapter 12. Maintaining Data Reporting a... > Creating and Implementing Database M...

Creating and Implementing Database Maintenance Plans

Many organizations and businesses begin their data collection and analysis efforts without taking stock of what data already exists or is being analyzed. This omission usually leads to duplicate or conflicting data collection and analysis. The following questions will help you coordinate data collection and analysis efforts, which will make database maintenance tasks easier overall.

  • Have you completed an inventory of your data? In larger organizations, this information includes the names and network locations of all the organization’s data sources—the servers and the databases stored on them.

  • From a general perspective, what purpose does each database serve? To preserve data and conserve resources, can any of these databases be archived to disk?

  • Are the structure and relationships for each database documented? Is the documentation in electronic, paper, or some other format? After every significant change to a database’s structure, has the new structure been documented? Where is the documentation stored?

  • Do you have enough RAM, processing speed, and hard disk space on each of the computers you use for storing databases and making data available to users? Does your hardware meet not only your current needs but your estimates for future data storage and retrieval needs? When was the last time you defragmented your computers’ hard disk drives?

  • Do you have a plan in place to deal with possible data failure, such as nightly hard-disk backups. If any backups fail, how is your backup staff alerted? Are you using RAID (redundant array of independent disks), a system that distributes data over a group of disks to ensure that if one disk fails, no data is lost? (The “I” in RAID is sometimes considered an abbreviation for “inexpensive” instead of “independent.”)



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